Hartford Marathon Training, Week 2: 7/6-7/12

This week had lots of ups and downs, but overall there was lots of progress. I survived my first round of mediocre training runs, slacked on my yoga practice, but nailed my long run. This was also the second week that I ran 6/7 days, which is part of my goal as I keep building a base. It was humid in my neck of the woods through Thursday, so most of the runs I did earlier in the week were ROUGH. I’m talking like 80% humidity, which was ugly. I also had to front load my week with my workouts (particularly days where I did double workouts) because I had a super busy weekend with a wedding, bridal shower, a race, and a 70th birthday party! Yes, I fit a race in that craziness – but it wasn’t a running race! It was an open water swim on Lake Nockamixon.

Monday, 7/6 – 3000 Meter Swim + Strength/PT/Core
My husband was off of work for the holiday, so I got in the pool early and cranked out my swim, followed by strength and my physical therapy exercises. I did some drills and some MYRTLs on the indoor track to make up for any missed sessions in the previous week. I’ve been using the indoor track for drills a lot lately (although it takes 17 laps to run a mile on it, so I never actually run on it!):

imageWe had a breakfast date and tried a new restaurant called The People’s Kitchen and I had one of the best omelets! My husband got this macaroni and cheese skillet (for breakfast!) that had a hash brown crust and a sunny side up egg on top. To die for. We spent the day looking at all things kitchen related. I didn’t have time to do core at the gym, so I did it when I got home from our “date”.

Tuesday, 7/7 –  9 Mile Fartlek Run w/8×2 minutes @ 10K pace + Pole Fitness
My first sort-of run fail for Hartford training! I wouldn’t call it a total fail. I finished the workout and it was close to what I’d intended to do. This is where training myself gets a little tricky. Part of the problem is that I don’t know what 10K pace is. I could use my current 10K PR pace, which is 6:42/mile. McMillian says I should be able to do a 10K @ 6:39/mile based on my 3:14 in Boston, or 6:23/mile using my 3:06 marathon PR. If I’m training for a 3:05, it’s a 6:21/mile. And if I really want to get ahead of myself, it’s a 6:10/mile for a 3:00 marathon.

My thoughts leading into the workout were that I’d most likely be in the 6:30-6:42 range. Ideally, I wanted to be anywhere from my PR pace (6:42) to my goal 10K PR pace (6:21) to gauge where I am right now. I also factored in that this was my first speed workout for Hartford, I just ran a race on the Fourth of July, and I haven’t gotten close to my marathon PR in a year. It was unreasonable to expect to hit the faster paces, but if I could pace myself correctly I might be able to hit them for a few of them. There was also the humidity factor. When I walked out of my house, it was sunny, HOT, and extremely humid – 80% humidity, to be exact (I didn’t check it until after the workout because I didn’t want it to affect how I did the workout). I headed to the Plainfield Trail and began the run. At first, I felt really good. Too good, because I went out too hard – and I paid the price:

Interval 1 – 6:14/mile
Interval 2 – 6:26/mile
Interval 3 – 6:33/mile
Interval 4 – 6:48/mile
Interval 5 – 6:30/mile
Interval 6 – 6:33/mile
Interval 7 – 6:41/mile
Interval 8 – 7:01/mile

I warmed up for a mile, and then for the remaining eight miles I would begin each mile with my 2 minute interval. I knew I went out too fast, but I felt really good in the beginning. My thinking was, eh, they are only 2 minute intervals, I can do anything for two minutes! I recovered from the first one and when it was time to pick it up again, I had a side sticker. Uh oh. The second one was more of a struggle than it should have been, and so it got worse from there. I had two (three, if you count the one that was too fast) that weren’t in my goal range at all and my last one was really ugly – I clearly also failed at the fast finish thing on this run.

I didn’t want to be too aggressive with my goal pace for this workout, but I also didn’t want to be too easy. One thing I learned while working with a coach was that sometimes he’d give me a workout with paces that looked impossible, but I’d hit them. Other times, I would get upset and frustrated during the workout. I don’t want to be on the easier side of things and not push myself, but I don’t want to be too aggressive that the workout is impossible to complete. One positive factor was that I didn’t get down on myself during the workout because I didn’t have someone to answer to. Like when I hit that first interval that was slower than my goal range (6:48), I didn’t just give up and decide to just do the rest as a general aerobic run. Before, I think I was afraid that one missed interval was going to be a disappointment to my coach (he NEVER made me feel that way so I don’t know why I thought that) so I would give up as soon as it didn’t go the way it was supposed to go. But one thing I also have to remember is that these are goal paces. If I could hit my goal paces in week 2 of my training, then I would already be running a 3:05 marathon.This is a called a training plan for a reason – I’m training my body to get faster.

And yes, part of the issue could have been the humidity factor, because last week I was able to crank out some decent runs and some faster paces. I don’t want to use humidity as an excuse because it’s possible that you could show up on race day and have to race in humidity – it happened at Grandma’s Marathon this year. I have another workout similar to this one in two weeks, and I now have an idea how I’d like to tackle it. Overall pace for this run, 7:31.

I’d already done a 30 minute core workout before the run, and I headed directly to pole class, which was fun and challenging. Learned another new trick, just ignore the look of sheer terror on my face from being upside down:

imageI live in the same town as Rodale, the publishing company that’s responsible for Runner’s World. They have this farm in the area called the Rodale Institute. If you are a CSA member and purchased a share, you can go every Tuesday and pick whatever veggies are in season that week. Depending on your share depends on how much you get. I don’t have a share (yet) but my friend, Dina, does. She was going on vacation and wouldn’t get to use her share so she gave it to me to experience this week. It was freaking awesome and I’m definitely getting my name on the list for next year!

I made sure to get on my mat and stretch/foam roll for about 45 minutes since my legs felt pretty beat up from my morning torture session.

Wednesday, 7/810 mile General Aerobic Run + 25 Mile Bike + Pole Fitness
Another super humid day, another terrible run. We had 80% humidity but it wasn’t super hot and there was no sun. It was really weird. My legs didn’t feel awful other than some soreness I’m having lately at the top of my right hamstring – right at the attachment. It’s nothing new, something I’ve always had in that hamstring that comes and goes. Speed aggravates it, so I expected it to be sore on my run today since I ran hard yesterday.

Maybe it was the humidity. Maybe it was the tired legs. Or the lack of thought I put into my fueling before this run (I had no breakfast- just a cup of coffee and a little water). Who knows. I headed to Saucon and had plans to run mostly the trail, maybe the roads depending on how I felt. I wanted to keep the pace in my general aerobic range (7:14-8:14). I decided to warm up on the trail, and when I looked down at my first mile, I saw 8:23. Uh oh. I was able speed it up to my general aerobic range for a few miles, but it felt hard. I had a long way to go, so I just relaxed and headed for the hills. Mostly it was hard to breathe, so I figured if I couldn’t speed it up, I might as well get some strength work in on the hills. The climbs in Saucon Valley are crazy: imageThe first significant climb is about a half mile, second is almost a mile and a half, and the final big one is a mile long. For the most part, there is no relief. I also decided that if I wasn’t going to be in my goal range, I wouldn’t take any breaks. Yup, you heard that right. Breaks.

Here’s another little secret/bad habit that I’m working on breaking: I always used to run without stopping regardless of my pace. When I started working with my coach and he started giving me more aggressive paces than I was used to, sometimes I would recover for a few seconds every so often on days where I wasn’t quite feeling it, just to make sure my watch registered what pace I needed it to say. This began happening more and more frequently. I think I was afraid he would think I wasn’t as fast as he thought I was so I didn’t want to report back and say I couldn’t do the workouts he gave me. But I never did this before. I almost think having a coach made me a little soft. Again, not because he was a bad coach or ever made me feel inadequate – I just think I’m afraid to say I failed at something and it ended up with me failing on a larger scale (in my races). I didn’t really talk about these little things before but this is a blog and now I’m my own coach. If I can’t be honest here, where can I be honest? I need to hold myself accountable and these little weekly reports take the place of the progress reports I would give my coach. I’m being as real as I can about my training because I want to be able to look back at what I did so I can see if it worked. So bottom line – I didn’t have it today. I averaged 8:35 overall.

One thing I did do was a fast finish mile! It was significantly faster than every single mile I clocked on this run and it started with a huge uphill. I was excited about that. I was dripping wet when I was done because it was so sticky out. I did some drills and MYRTLs, and sat in my air conditioned car for a few minutes and drank a protein shake. I didn’t want to ride, but I have a triathlon coming up next month and I knew I had a packed weekend ahead of me, so I didn’t have much of a choice. The bike for this tri is 24.6 miles, so my goal was to ride 25 miles today.

My pace on the bike was about as good as my run pace, but I did about 1200′ of climbing on the ride. By the time I was done with the ride, I was DONE. I went home, forced myself to do 20 minutes of abs, and made a big lunch.

Thursday, 7/9Strength/Core/PT + 25 Mile Ride + 2 Mile Transition Run
It was pouring in the morning and I felt sluggish and off, so I headed to the gym and took my time with my workout. By the time I was done and I wrapped up some errands, it was sunny and hot outside. I met up with Emily and we did one of our usual loops with an extension at the beginning for a 25 mile ride. It was so hot, and by the time we got to about mile 17 on our ride, we had pretty much finished up all of our water. We were riding down this little back road in the middle of a bunch of cornfields, and there were some little girls outside of their house selling lemonade! We rode by but when it registered what it was, we turned back. They were charging a DOLLAR per cup! I seem to remember selling lemonade for like $.25…if that? Ha! It was warm (no ice, HA) but helped hold us over until we could get back to her house.

We headed out for a 2 mile run when we got back. I couldn’t fit a transition run anywhere else in my schedule this week, and I wanted to run six days this week. I did that last week (since I did a little shakeout for the Race Street Run) and I know that starting next week I have six runs scheduled per week from here on out. I want my body to be ready for that transition. My goal was to stick to my recovery range (8:20-9:01). We took her new dog, with us and we averaged 8:24/mile – perfectly even splits, too – same pace for the first and the second mile! Once I got moving, I felt pretty good. I also did this run in my Newtons! I think next week I’m ready to jump a little in miles in those shoes.

Friday, 7/108 mile general aerobic run w/8×8 second hill sprints + Core
Begin my crazy weekend. I had to be at my sister-in-laws salon by 10:30 for a hair appointment and in Staten Island by 2:30 for a wedding. I got up early and headed out to the roads of Saucon Valley for my run. My goal was to keep the pace in my general aerobic range (7:14-8:14), but on the slower side since I had a long run planned for Saturday. I started slow, ended with a fast finish mile, and averaged 7:54 overall. I was really tired when I began but I did a perfect progression for the run and it really seemed to help ease me in to it!  If only I could remember how well my body responds to that kind of thing on race day. I came home and did a plank workout and got ready for the wedding. It was so fun to get all dressed up, and such a happy occasion. The person getting married was a family friend I grew up with, and it was so great to see him so happy! My husband and I really enjoyed spending the night eating, dancing, and catching up with old friends.

Saturday, 7/11 – 12 Mile Progression Run, last 6 moderate
This run had all of the makings of “shit show” written all over it, and I was a little worried based on how terrible my runs had gone earlier in the week. The wedding reception went until 12:30, and we didn’t get home and to bed until after 2! I had a bridal shower that was 1.5 hours away on Saturday at noon, so I had to be up and out the door early. After 4 hours of sleep, I got up at 6:30am and headed out for my run. I was so tired, and I wanted so badly to do well on my run but I told myself before I started to just be kind to myself. If I wasn’t feeling it, don’t push it.

I began the run and started slowly, 8:11 pace. Felt good, so my next mile was 7:58. Told myself to keep it there and keep running comfortable, but my next mile was a 7:42! At this point, I passed this guy and didn’t want him to pass me back so my next mile was the one that threw off my progression – 7:31. I calmed down a little and did 7:34, then 7:33. I realized I was halfway and that I’d intended to see what I could do in this second half, but I proceeded cautiously. 7:24, 7:15, 7:13. Not bad. Last week I finished with a few sub-7s, and I didn’t know if I had three of those in me but I was feeling great and willing to try. Ended up with 6:53, 6:47, 6:47! I was trying SO hard to make that last mile the fastest one of the day but it ended up as a tie, and I was totally fine with that. I have no idea where this run came from – I spent the day before eating poorly, dancing for hours in huge heels, and got a terrible night’s sleep. I’m beginning to think I have this whole training thing wrong! Overall pace, 7:23. Yay! I made it to my friend’s bridal shower on time. It was at her family lake house in the Poconos, so I spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying being outside.

Sunday, 7/12 – 1.5 mile open water swim + 6 mile recovery run
I got a semi decent night’s sleep after all of the craziness of the first half of the weekend, but was up early and heading to Lake Nockamixon for the Steelman Open Water Swim. It was so nice to do a race where there was zero pressure. I am not a swimmer – I swam for a little while in middle school and my freshman year of high school so I know HOW to swim, I’m just not very fast. I did the OWS last year in about 50 minutes, so I hoped to be somewhere around there but wasn’t really gunning for any specific time. It was a gorgeous day on the lake:

imageWe had a nice group of swimmers – Emily, her mom, her dad and one of my high school students (she swims for the school):

Last year, I did a poor job sighting and my only real goal was to really focus on sighting and not swim any extra – which I did. I would count to 12 each time, and then look for the big orange buoys to make sure I was swimming in a straight line. I felt like I was really successful in that and never went far off course. I had so much fun – the sun was out in full force, and the water was beautiful. But when I got to the finish line and the volunteers helped me out of the water, I was shocked at what I saw. 54 minutes? Four minutes slower than last year? How is that possible? I felt like I was flying. I wasn’t really upset, just so confused. I made a mistake with my Garmin and never set it to enable the swim feature after I did a hard reset a few weeks ago so my distance was way off (said we swam 3.28 miles, ha!) but everyone that wore a watch said the same thing. The course was way long this year. Most people that swam the 1.5 mile event registered 1.78-1.84 on their watches – that’s huge! So if the course is a quarter mile long, that means we swam an extra 400 meters – which, for me, is about 7 extra minutes. In that case, I would have swam faster. Although my swim feature wasn’t enabled, I do have the maps comparing this year and last year and you can definitely see that it was much longer – particularly in how far out we swam:

Everyone in my group that participated in the swim from last year was consistently 3-4 minutes slower than their time last year, so that made me feel a lot better. I was 10th in my age group, which wasn’t too bad considering that pretty serious swimmers show up to these things.

After the race, Emily and I ran the trails around Lake Nockamixon for a recovery run. 6 miles, 8:43 pace, and a fast finish mile. It was super hot by this time, but we survived!

Swim:  5400 meters ♥ Bike: 50 miles ♥  Run: 47 miles

How was your week? Any races or great runs to rave about? Ever do an open water swim, or some other non-running related race?


37 Replies to “Hartford Marathon Training, Week 2: 7/6-7/12”

  1. girl, you are a beast!! your runs and workouts are incredible. amazing job on the post-wedding fun run! yeesh. i also attended a wedding this wknd but i slept til 10 the next morning and didn’t run til after church at 1pm…and it was hoooot here too. i certainly wasn’t a speed demon like you. 🙂 love that pole pose!! gah i need to practice these things. 🙂

    1. Thank you!!! In all fairness I didn’t drink too much at the wedding because I knew we had to drive home. Since I had the shower the next day we couldn’t stay over…so no hangover, just a tired run!

  2. Great job fitting in all of your workouts around weddings and showers! That is truly impressive. After just 4 hours of sleep I would have been all about the snooze button and sleeping in.

    For your 10k pace, I would suggest using your Boston marathon predicted pace. I know it is tempting to train at your goal paces, but everything that I’ve read really emphasizes training at your current fitness levels, not your goals (though obvs I am not an expert by any means!).

    1. Thank you! I probably should have just hit the snooze button – I’m paying for it now with a little cold or sinus thing going on, yuck! Thanks for the advice, too. I agree with you. I post my paces and my struggles because now that I’m doing this without a coach, I don’t have him to consult. I appreciate hearing advice and have a similar workout this week on the agenda. Let’s see how it goes!!

  3. Nice job in the swim! Swimming isn’t my thing, although I started to enjoy it when I was pregnant with Callum. I get this panicky feeling in my chest like I can’t breathe. I can’t even imagine doing an open water swim. I’m hyperventilating just thinking about it! You had a huge week full of workouts. I am impressed, lady! WOW. And I love that you’re honest about your workouts. That makes me love you just a little bit more. And oh your dress! It’s so perfect.

    1. Thank you!! I actually used to get that same panicky feeling – but the more comfortable you get with the breathing, the easier it is and that feeling goes away! I really love open water swimming and prefer it to pools. I actually borrowed the dress! I was so excited it fit me! My friend has really good taste 🙂

  4. Wow… your workouts were amazing! The paces for your fartlek run were awesome, even if you got tired at the end. Swimming in open water has always scared me, so I’ve never done it. I always struggle so much when swimming and I get really tired really fast.

    1. Thank you! I think swimming is my favorite form of cross training, but it is pretty exhausting! Open water is definitely scary but once you get started, it’s actually way more fun than any pool workout!

  5. I’ve never done an open water swim, but I can’t really swim well either. It looks like you had a lot of fun at the swim and a huge week of workouts. I have no clue how you fit everything in so awesome job juggling so many miles (granted your miles are pretty fast so I guess that makes fitting them in a little easier), pole, swim, bike, etc.

    The pictures of you guys at the wedding are great, too!

    1. Thank you!! My secret is that I’m a teacher and I’m off for summer right now 😉 I don’t do this much volume in the winter. I try to cram it all in during the summer and hope my base will carry me through my fall races!

  6. Absolutely killing the training. I have no doubt you are going to crush Hartford! I used to swim competitively, and every summer our coach would make us race a mile open water swim. And if we did, we got the rest of the weekend off practice (i.e. everyone did it!). It was a lot of fun and I will sometimes occasionally enter and swim it just to see if I still can. Haha. My mom is a beast and actually did Swim Across the Sound and swam from LI, NY to Bridgeport, CT… 15ish miles.. I have no idea how she did that. PS. I’m so envious of your pole skills I would totally face plant all the time! Impressive strength!

    1. Thanks! So cool that you swam competitively. Do you still do it to cross train? Your mom sounds like a beast – I mean that in the best way possible! 15 miles! Do they take breaks? How long did that take her? WOW. The swim I did was 1.5, and there’s a 3.1 mile option, too – I could do it, but it would most likely take me about 2 hours. I don’t like to swim for more than an hour, I think I’d get so bored!

      1. I do not. I went to college to swim and ended up tearing my rotator cuff so I’ve avoided the pool ever since. That’s when I started running! I would love to try a triathlon next year so I foresee a bit of a swimming comeback in my future. It took my mom almost 10 hours. WOOF.

      2. 10 hours. Of swimming. Holy crap. I can’t stand being in the pool for more than an hour, I get so bored! By the end of my open water swim I was ready to be out of the water. I can’t imagine 10 hours! She’s a rockstar!

      3. That’s my only concern… I feel like with triathlon training and my job I would have time for nothing else except inhaling food and sleeping haha.

      4. Last year I did two half Ironman. That was my life! But if you do a sprint an Olympic it is much more doable to fit in with your regular running training! There’s a good one in my neck of the woods in a month…😜

  7. Nice job this week! An open water swim race sounds daunting to me but after all that heat and humidity I think it also sounds refreshing! Hehe.

    I’ll echo what Heather said about training at your current level instead of your goal pace level. I think it’s hard to accept this because we tend to believe we’re not pushing ourselves or that we’re just going to stagnate if we keep training at the level of a past race. But if you think about it, it really doesn’t make any sense to train at a level you’re not yet at.It’s counterproductive and you’re more likely to burn out or get injured. It’s the same reasoning behind doing a lot of easy running: it improves your fitness not because it’s making you faster but because it’s allowing you to establish consistency and build a base.

    But, I agree that the struggle is real when trying to figure out what exactly your current fitness level pace is. I rarely race shorter distances – my last 10K was over 6 months ago – so I really have no idea what my 5K, 10K, and 15K paces are. So I just run my speed and tempos by effort instead. It’s worked really well for me – I actually run faster and more efficiently when I’m not trying to hit a certain pace. It’s a “leap of faith” way of training but I’ve found that things always tend to work out in the end for me when I just let go 🙂

    1. Thank you! I definitely love open water swimming in the summer – so refreshing! It’s funny though – I got out of the water and was sweating immediately because you’re still racing, you just don’t realize how much you sweat in the water! LOL! I totally agree with you and Heather – I am so glad to hear someone say it. It’s like not having a coach has been a great thing for me in so many ways, except I don’t know what pace to aim for in certain workouts. I often think (especially after reading your comments) that he was giving me paces at a level that I wasn’t quite at yet and it was counterproductive – thus the slower marathon times, injury, frustration and burn out I experienced over the past year. I’m so thankful for this blog and for your feedback – helps so much as I’m now making decisions for myself! The workout was a good learning experience and I’m glad I did it.

  8. I’ve never done an open water swim, but I’m not exactly the best swimmer either. Maybe I’ll try it one day. Your workouts this week were awesome! Amazing job! You inspire me to push myself harder. Those pics of you guys at the wedding are really nice. I love your dress. Have a great week.

  9. What an awesome week! You’re absolutely killing it. Keep doing those workouts, the fitness will come! I’m always so surprised how quickly I start to improve after getting over that initial hump. I’m a terrible swimmer, so I’m super impressed with your swimming! Open water swims sounds kind of terrifying to me!

    1. Thank you!! I feel like I am learning a lot by coaching myself. Open water swimming used to scare me, too – but you just have to dive right in (ha ha, pun intended) and try it! After a few open water swims, I actually find that I prefer it to swimming in a pool!

  10. Great week! And I love the honesty 🙂 Personally, I think 8:35 in the heat/humidity PLUS those hills is pretty freaking amazing! Keep up the hard work, it definitely sounds like you don’t need a coach in order to push yourself. 🙂 Also – I love the dress you wore to the wedding, you look gorgeous!

    1. Thank you! I’ve got a lot to work on this summer 🙂 I don’t mind an 8:35, it was just a little outside of the range I was hoping to run on that day! Have a great day 🙂

  11. Awesome week!! Open water swims kind of terrify me. Both because of what you can’t see and tides/ currents. I think a lake would be better than the ocean though. I once thought about training for a tri but then I just laughed. My gym doesn’t have a pool so I would have to train in the ocean- umm, no. Have a great week!

    1. I don’t blame you – I’ve done open water swims in lakes, oceans, rivers, and bays. The scariest was definitely the ocean. We had to swim out, then along the shoreline, and then cut back in. The water was pretty choppy and you would lift your head to breathe or sight and realize how far out you really were…and so much easier to get separated from everyone else in the water. So ocean training would terrify me!

  12. Nice job! You are crushing it! My friend competes in those pole competitions in California. I see the pics on FB – looks so strong! They use to offer pole dance aerobics at my gym. I always wanted to go wearing a break-away police costume.

  13. LOVE how you got it done this week despite the busy-ness of life. #commitment

    I told myself the same thing early in my training how I’m not going to be hitting my goal paces early on (especially with the heat) because I’m *training* for those goal paces. Duh, Helly! jaja!!

    I don’t do water. I don’t like pools, lakes, oceans, rivers… I do like a nice hot shower though 🙂

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